[ExI] Racist foxes

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Wed Apr 6 23:47:13 UTC 2011

On Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 3:47 PM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 11:37 PM, Keith Henson  wrote:
>> Come back in a decade or so when we have mapped the genes that became
>> more common over 400 years of a stable society that was both drawinian
>> and malthusian.
>> It might not take that long.  They already have a list of some 40
>> genes that are different between tame and wild foxes.  Given that we
>> fished out the DNA of Neanderthals, it should not be too hard to get a
>> decent DNA sampling from a 1000 years ago in the UK and compare it to
>> the current prevalence of various genes.
>> And farming came in ten millennia before that.  I suspect that farming
>> drove the selection for acquisitiveness at least in the northern
>> temperate zone.  In a bad winter those who just had enough food and
>> fuel to make it through a normal winter died and the children of the
>> ones who had piled up more than most thought they needed repopulated
>> the farms of those who starved or froze.
> Well, if you believe that some nations evolved superior genes

Not superior genes.  Those genes would have come in dead last in
hunter gatherer societies.  Just better adapted to a stable agrarian
society where the accumulation of wealth greatly improved the chances
of your kids reaching adulthood.

> that
> make them good capitalists, then you must also believe that they
> un-evolve these genes as their capitalism goes downhill and other
> nations take over.

The selection pressure has been off for 200 years now.  Even the
poorest of the poor seldom starve.

> National success goes in cycles. The torch gets passed along from
> nation to nation over the centuries.
> It's a cultural thing. Empires rise and fall. Nothing to do with genetics.

Can you think of an example where cultural failure was the cause of an
empire failing?

The ones that really went down hard like the Myans were due to weather
and environmental damage.  The Greenland Norse I suppose were partly a
failure of their culture to change in the face of much colder weather.


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